Before we can cure stretch marks, let’s review what they are and how they are formed by the body. Stretch marks occur when the lower levels of the skin become damaged and tear causing lines of red or purple marks, which fade as time passes to white scarring . As with all scars, this causes a pockmarked effect on the skin which is quite embarrassing, and most people with stretch marks hide them away far from the light of day. Nobody knows whether or not they will get stretch marks, although the vast majority of women will at some time in their lives suffer from them. Stretch mark prevention is obviously better than cure, but how can you prevent something if you don’t know whether you’re going to suffer from it or not? Stretch marks tend to occur at times of hormonal imbalance, such as pregnancy. In this case, they usually form around the abdomen where the skin is being put under a lot of pressure by the growing foetus. The hormones that rage throughout the body for the full gestation period also increase the likelihood of skin damage.
There are certain things you can do to increase your odds to cure stretch marks, and most of these classify as common sense. The skin is the largest organ in the body and is affected by everything you do and everything you eat and drink. If you do not drink enough water, your skin will suffer and become dry and flaky; a lot of people wonder about how much water they should be drinking. I have found the best way of guarding against dehydration is to keep an eye on the colour of your urine. If urine is colourless or very pale, that’s proof you’re drinking enough; any darker in color than that and you need to drink more. Water can help cure stretch marks naturally, so be sure to focus on keeping hydrated.
If your urine is very dark in colour and has a strong smell, then you may be dehydrated and water alone may not be enough to rehydrate you. In this case you should add some of the special rehydration mixture that is produced for athletes, which contains the correct proportions of electrolytes that your body needs. Becoming severely dehydrated is dangerous as it can cause collapse and the shutting down of your internal organs. It is a good idea to always keep water handy and sip regularly throughout the day. Tea and coffee count too, but too much coffee should be avoided as caffeine can cause dehydration and can also add to the dryness of skin. Eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables and moderate amounts of lean protein will radically improve the health of your skin and assist you in your quest to cure old stretch marks. You should avoid junk and processed foods, and aim to eat a rainbow of colours in fruit and vegetables every day. This way, your whole body will be nourished and your skin will be healthy, glowing and supple – and you will be much less likely to suffer from stretch marks.
Most people, especially women, develop stretch marks sooner or later. My first experience of stretch marks was after I had my eldest child and I was horrified to see that my nice flat smooth tummy was no more and was now lined, ‘lumpy’ and ugly and did nothing to ease the post natal depression from which I was suffering.
I had two more children in fairly quick succession and although I returned to my previous weight and had relatively the same shape, the stretch marks were there in all their glory and had also appeared on my inner thighs. I decided that there wasn’t much I could do about it and then discovered there were plenty of things I could try. Having three small children and a home to run meant there was very little time to spend on myself and even less money. Exercise is important (and I got plenty of that) and a healthy diet is too, as it promotes healthy skin, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. I discovered that foods that have an abundance of zinc, such as fish; high protein foods, such as eggs; and foods loaded in vitamins A and C such as citrus fruits, vegetables like carrots and milk were very beneficial.
Stretch marks do not only appear during and after pregnancy and are not confined to women. They can be found on the upper arms, hips and lower back. They also appear in people who are overweight, have lost weight, or in very muscular people whose skin is stretched. We have three layers of skin and stretch marks occur in the middle layer, which, when stretched, loses its elasticity and breaks down, leaving stretch marks. Basically anything which causes stress in the body, or changes shape, can result in stretch marks which start off being a purple/pinkish or colour and then, in time, change to white/silver. However, with a bit of t l c and a healthy diet, they will disappear and we won’t have to worry about the colour!